Armory Week Lowdown: Art Shows to See in 2020
Exhibition view: John Miller, The Collapse of Neoliberalism, Metro Pictures, New York (30 January–14 March 2020). Courtesy Metro Pictures, New York.
Structural issues forced The Armory Show into last-minute relocation pirouettes last year. Though Pier 92 remains closed (the catalyst of 2019's crisis), and VOLTA (4–8 March 2020)—Armory's sister fair, cancelled last year so Armory could use its location—has since been sold to Ramsay Fairs, The Armory Show's programming continues to flourish. 178 exhibitors are set to participate in the 2020 edition at Piers 90 and 94, with Pier 90 wholly dedicated to curator-led initiatives.
Numerous other art fairs will pitch their tents across the city during the week of The Armory Show (5–8 March 2020), including Clio Art Fair (5–8 March 2020), Independent (5–8 March 2020), and SPRING/BREAK Art Show (3–9 March 2020). If the copious art fairs do not satisfy the appetite, however, consider visiting New York City's galleries and institutions on their home turf. See below for a mere taste of the offerings that await the adventurous art lover beyond fair walls.
Cinga Samson: Amadoda Akafani, Afana Ngeentshebe Zodwa (men are different, though they look alike)
Perrotin, 130 Orchard Street
22 February–11 April 2020
South African painter Cinga Samson is best known for his luscious portraits of African men in beautiful clothing. Working with a mostly muted palette, decadent objects such as flowers and intricate rugs provide his canvases with bursts of colour. While his earlier works were more sombre, reflecting the artist's frustration with contemporary politics, in 2016 he decided to focus his energies on pieces that celebrate the beauty of youth, blackness, and African culture at large. This exhibition will mark Samson's New York debut, giving Manhattanites their first, and surely not last, glimpse of the artist's arresting practice.
Julian Charrière: Towards No Earthly Pole
Sean Kelly Gallery, 475 Tenth Avenue
31 January–21 March 2020
Just as the ice begins to thaw throughout the city, visitors to Sean Kelly Gallery can find the first North American screening of Julian Charrière's feature film Towards No Earthly Pole (2019). Speaking to the past of arctic exploration as well as the current global ecological crisis, the 102-minute film presents a stunning, meditative survey of arctic landscapes across the globe. One other film and a series of photographs and sculptures accompany Towards No Earthly Pole, rounding out the exhibition as a dazzling inquiry into a range of natural phenomena.
Ja'Tovia Gary: flesh that needs to be loved
Paula Cooper Gallery, 521 West 21st Street
15 February–21 March 2020
Visit Paula Cooper Gallery for the East Coast premiere of THE GIVERNY SUITE (2019), Ja'Tovia Gary's immersive three-channel exploration of the effect of power structures on the way race, sexuality, gender, and violence are understood, with a specific emphasis on the experience of black women. A combination of animation, documentary, experimental film practice, and video art, THE GIVERNY SUITE is the artist's first multimedia sculptural installation, and collages new and archival footage in a quest to paint a more nuanced portrait of the contemporary African American experience.
Krzysztof Wodiczko: A House Divided...
Galerie Lelong & Co., 528 West 26th Street
25 January–7 March 2020
At Galerie Lelong & Co. this winter, Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko presents a series of recordings of New York's Staten Island citizens sharing their often-opposing political views. Projected against two eight-foot Abraham Lincoln statues animated in sync with the recordings, the piece presents the starkly contrasting perspectives of one community. The exhibition title references United States president Abraham Lincoln's statement on the country as it neared war—'a house divided against itself cannot stand'—alluding to the destructive nature of internal conflict.
Also on view by Wodiczko is Monument in Madison Square Park. Focused on the plight of the refugee, the artist has projected recordings of the experiences of 12 resettled refugees from around the world onto a monument of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut.
John Miller: The Collapse of Neoliberalism
Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street
30 January–14 March 2020
In his most recent multi-media solo exhibition at Metro Pictures in New York, John Miller returns to the mannequins that are frequent fodder for his practice. Combining notions of the erotic and the mundane in a series of photographs, installations, and a video, Miller interrogates how fashion and art both may be used to create simultaneously desirable and eerie pseudo-realities.
Larry Bell: Still Standing
Hauser & Wirth, 548 West 22nd Street
20 February–11 April 2020
Over the course of a six-decade-long career, American artist Larry Bell has earned great esteem for his glass sculptures that survey the range of possibilities that light, shadow, and reflection hold as materials. Still Standing presents a range of works fabricated since the 1970s, tracking the artist's trajectory from small maquettes to large glass sculptures, with a particular interest in the effect that moving from the crowded urban landscape of New York to the wide expanses of New Mexico in 1973 had on the artist's investigation of space and volume.
Tuan Andrew Nguyen
James Cohan, 291 Grand Street
28 February–3 May 2020
Video and sculpture artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen moved back to Vietnam—where he was born before his family left as refugees—in 2004. Since then his work has been generally rooted in the history of Vietnam, investigating strategies of memorialisation in order to examine personal, communal, and national relationships to trauma and displacement. This solo exhibition with James Cohan will likely offer audiences a glimpse of the latest iteration of a fascinating practice that combines contemporary art and traditional ritual approaches into works that collapse past and future into an ever-morphing present.
Yto Barrada: Paste Papers
Pace Gallery, 540 West 25th Street
14 September 2019–20 March 2020
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán has inspired a range of homages to his practice since his death in 1988. In the latest of these responses to the titan of modern architecture, Yto Barrada has covered the south wall of Pace Gallery's new 10,000-volume research library with a wallpaper based on the designs in the end papers of books within Barragán's library in his Mexico City home. Atop the striking wallpaper sits a further series of framed works based on the same stimulus.
Kevin Jerome Everson: Westinghouse
Andrew Kreps Gallery, 55 Walker Street
29 February–11 April 2020
In his second solo exhibition with Andrew Kreps Gallery, Kevin Jerome Everson continues his study of the Westinghouse factory, which supported the prosperity of Mansfield, Ohio—the artist's hometown—from its opening in 1918 to its closure in 1990. Like many Midwestern towns, Mansfield's economy significantly deteriorated with the loss of its central industry to overseas competitors. In this exhibition, Everson presents two films and a series of Westinghouse irons cast in rubber as part of a deft ongoing investigation into human-object relations.
Kent Monkman: mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People)
The Met Fifth Avenue, 1000 Fifth Avenue
19 December 2019–9 April 2020
For his Great Hall Commission, Cree artist Kent Monkman has claimed the historical painting genre in service of representing the indigenous experience in a pair of large paintings. Emphasising indigenous history and philosophical frameworks, and refuting the settler's romantic gaze upon indigenous peoples as a 'vanishing race', these paintings allude to old masters while centring the artist's alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, amongst a series of references to a range of forced migrations and displacements.
This latest commission by The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one in a series of initiatives that encourage contemporary artists to critically investigate the Museum's collection. It follows the opening of Wangechi Mutu's commission The NewOnes, will free Us (9 September 2019–8 June 2020) late last year.
Jordan Casteel: Within Reach
New Museum, 235 Bowery
19 February–24 May 2020
Painting people in her neighbourhood, colleagues from her time in Yale University's MFA programme, and her students at Rutgers University-Newark, amongst others, Casteel has used her practice as a channel for developing a level of visibility for her family that has been historically absent and today remains elusive. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni—Edlis Neeson's artistic director—Within Reach centres around these vibrant, large-scale oil portraits for which the artist is known.
Haegue Yang: Handles
The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street
21 October 2019–12 April 2020
Multisensory artist Haegue Yang's commissioned installation Handles at The Museum of Modern Art gathers many inspirations together, including Sophie Taeuber-Arp, George Gurdjieff, and Isang Yun. Located in the Marron Atrium, the colourful and inviting installation of six sculptures is activated daily, the soft jingle of the bells attached to the objects awoken by their movement around the space. Birdsong recorded during the historic summit between North and South Korea in 2018 adds another aural element to the piece as well as emphasising the installation's political dimensions. An artist talk will take place the evening of 5 March 2020.
Rachel Feinstein: Maiden, Mother, Crone
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue
1 November 2019–22 March 2020
Master of sculpture Rachel Feinstein's highly theatrical installation at The Jewish Museum features set-like elements including a curtain, panoramic wallpaper, and a video, as well as the maquettes, sculptures, and paintings that characterise the artist's practice. Across nearly 30 years, Feinstein has been dedicated to investigating beauty and the more sinister elements that lurk behind such veneers. This show, centred around the titular three stages of a woman's life, continues this investigation, blurring story and reality to uncover constructions of femininity.
Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway
14 February 2020–10 January 2021
Combining curated objects from the Brooklyn Museum with recent works by the artist in a floor-to-ceiling installation, Jeffrey Gibson's When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks is a critique of the frameworks within which the institution organises its collection of Native American pieces. Featuring headdresses, rawhide, and appliqué from the collection, and paintings, ceramics, and textiles by the artist, the historical and contemporary pieces included weave together a continuous and ongoing narrative of Native American art and craft practices.
Jaimie Warren: THE MIRACLE
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street
21 February–12 April 2020
Jaimie Warren's performance set at Pioneer Works combines kitsch, horror, and high school musical DIY aesthetics. Created through a series of workshops, the installation combines references to a multitude of films including The Exorcist (1973), The NeverEnding Story (1984), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Featuring daily activations, the work will culminate in the musical production THE MIRACLE, THE MUSICAL on 4 and 11 April 2020.
Cauleen Smith: Mutualities
Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street
17 February–17 May 2020
Many will recognise Cauleen Smith for the banners that formed her contribution to the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Returning to the Whitney Museum of American Art this year with two film installations and a suite of new drawings, Smith continues her exploration of both her personal experiences and the experiences of other powerful black femmes. Operating within non-Western frameworks, her new pieces hold future and past together with an honest and steady gaze.
Lari Pittman: Found Buried
Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street
5 March–25 April 2020
Following the recent closure of his retrospective at the Hammer Museum on 5 January, Los Angeles-based artist Lari Pittman presents his first solo exhibition with Lehmann Maupin in New York. Found Buriedincludes the painter's strong compositions rooted in the decorative and applied arts to make broader statements around histories of violence. At Lehmann Maupin, signifiers of wealth and power collide in kaleidoscopic renditions—from pomegranates, in reference to imperialism, to chalices, vases, and tools of labour.
Al Taylor: A / LOW / HA, The Hawaiian Works
David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street
5 March–18 April 2020
Mamma Andersson: The Lost Paradise
David Zwirner, 533 West 19th Street
4 March–11 April 2020
A collection of atmospheric paintings by Swedish artist Mamma Andersson will be on view at David Zwirner's 533 West 19th Street space, arranged according to her most frequent motifs, including horses, young women, and domestic spaces. Though her paintings recall the landscapes of Northern Sweden, they move beyond a specificity of location, revolving instead around certain moods. Landscape-inspired aesthetics arise over at David Zwirner's 537 West 20th Street space, also, with sculptures, drawings, and prints by Al Taylor drawn from his experience of Hawaii and fascination with its landscapes, history, and culture.
Lisson Gallery, 138 10th Avenue
29 February–18 April 2020
Following Lisson Gallery's recent announcement of their representation of Joanna Pousette-Dart, an exhibition of recent paintings and works on paper by the New York-based artist will make up her first solo show with the gallery. The daughter of Richard Pousette-Dart, one of the founders of the New York School, Pousette-Dart's dynamic compositions were formed against the backdrop of modernist tradition. Made up of multiple parts, her sleek, colourful paintings are inspired by her experience living and working in Mexico from the 1970s, which led to her abandonment of the rectangular format in the 1990s.
Gagosian, 541 West 24th Street
3 March–11 April 2020
Viennese artist Rudolf Polanszky developed his practice in the 1980s, on the back of the Viennese Actionism. Part of a generation of artists that include VALIE EXPORT, Franz West, and Dieter Roth, Polasnszky's early work often related to bodily function, as seen in his 'Koma Night and Sleep' (1983) paintings, which saw the artist attempt to conjure images from his subconscious, painting in a half-awake state. His most recent sculptures and mixed-media paintings are somnambulant in their surfaces, rather than their creation—assembled from materials such as aluminium, resin, silicone, and foil to create shimmering, dream-like surfaces.
Jutta Koether: 4 the Team
Lévy Gorvy, 909 Madison Avenue
27 February–18 April 2020
Jutta Koether's latest paintings, accompanied by a series from the 1980s and 90s, take up all three floors of Lévy Gorvy's gallery space on Madison Avenue for 4 the Team—an inquiry into painterly practice, tracing the artist's practice from Cologne to New York. Referencing movements such as Symbolism, Post-Impressionism, and Surrealism, Koether's encyclopaedic canvases exude the breadth and life of painting itself. —[O]